The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has begun the process of recovering Sh13.9 million from a former Taita Taveta County government employee.
In a case filed at the Chief Magistrate's court in Voi, the anti-graft body states that Mr Geoffrey Kimonge, who was former Governor John Mruttu's political advisor, fraudulently acquired the public funds and unjustly enriched himself.
EACC says Mr Kimonge acquired the funds in form of imprest purportedly for allowances of Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) and staff of the county government, money that was not paid to the beneficiaries.
“As a result of the said illegality, fraud and breach of trust, the defendant has unlawfully and unjustly enriched himself with Sh13.9 fraudulently acquired from the Taita Taveta County government,” EACC stated in the court documents.
The commission said Mr Kimonge unlawfully acquired the money between October 2015 to May 2017 and is a beneficiary of public funds as a result of abuse of office and unethical conduct.
The documents show that on November 20, 2015, Mr Kimonge received a Sh1 million imprest MCAs allowances but failed to remit it to them. Seven days later, he again received over Sh1 million but did not pay the MCAs.
He was also accused of receiving Sh292,800 on 18th February 2016 but failed to pay Sh193,400 to some of the MCAs.
According to the statement, on March 17 2016, Mr Kimonge applied and received Sh1.3 million for the MCAs but he never paid them and neither did he surrender the imprest as required by law.
The statement shows that from April 2016 to May 2017, Mr Kimonge allegedly pocketed Sh599,000, Sh1.8 million, Sh1.6 million, Sh148,000, Sh7.2 million, Sh2 million, Sh45,000, Sh500,000, Sh1.2 million, Sh176,000, Sh200,000, Sh560,000 for various purposes but never paid as intended.
"That on December 13, 2016, the defendant fraudulently applied and received imprest of Sh7.2 million purportedly as daily subsistence allowance (per diem) for county government employees travelling to Dubai. Investigations established that the Defendant never remitted Sh1.3 million to some of the employees and has never surrendered the imprest," it stated.
"That on December 22, 2016, the defendant fraudulently applied and received an imprest of Sh2 million purportedly for conference fees for ten people who were travelling to Dubai but never utilised the said amount for the said purposes and has never surrendered the imprest,"
The commission said the illegality, fraud and breach of trust against Mr Kimonge include using his office to benefit himself, failure to comply with the laws relating to the management of public funds and unlawful acquisition of public property.
He is also accused of failing to surrender imprest within the stipulated period, requisitioning and receiving public funds for personal gain, falsifying surrender and other accounting documents to embezzle public funds, falsifying lists of participants, payment schedules and forging signatures of participants.
He allegedly failed to surrender unspent public funds to the accounting officer, obtained funds from the county government for no activities undertaken, and failed to follow the laid down procurement and Public Finance Management Act procedures.
According to the anti-graft body despite issuing a demand letter in July last year to compel the former county official to pay the funds, he is yet to comply.
EACC wants the court to issue a declaration that the former county government employee unlawfully acquired the funds in breach of public trust and to order for payment of the amount by the defendant.
The commission also wants the court to issue an order of payment of interest of the millions of shillings at commercial rates from the date of acquisition of each tranche as enumerated in the suit.
Mr Mruttu had appointed Mr Kimonge as his political advisor in March 2013.
The commission started its investigations in 2020 after receiving petitions from residents.